To the degree a team can have a whole lot of problems when they sit comfortably in first place coming off a year in which they won the World Series, the Phillies have had three big ones so far this season. The starting pitchers have been awful, Brad Lidge of 2009 doesn’t look much like Brad Lidge of 2008 and Jimmy Rollins hasn’t looked like much of anything.
One of those problems appears, for the moment at least, to have been solved. The starting pitching is suddenly fantastic. Antonio Bastardo didn’t make it through the sixth inning last night, but did hold LA to two runs over five frames. For the Phils it was the first time in eight games that they did not get a quality start. On May 30, Hamels allowed six runs over six innings against the Nationals. Since then the Phillies have played eight games in which their starters have thrown to a 1.70 ERA with an 0.83 ratio. In 53 innings they’ve walked six and struck out 35.
One down, two to go. The other two problems certainly didn’t get any better in Los Angeles. Lidge blew two saves, one with the help of a huge error by Feliz. Rollins went 0-for-10 in the first two games of the set, didn’t start the third and hit sixth in the fourth. As if on a mission to remind us all of how important Rollins is to the team, the Phillies scored eight runs in the first three games.
The Phillies are 33-22 on the season after splitting a four-game series with the Dodgers in LA. They are in first place in the NL East and lead the second-place Mets by three games. The Dodgers are the only team in either league that has a better winning percentage than the Phillies. After the Phillies took game one of the series they had won seven games in a row.
The Phils took game one 3-0 behind a complete came shutout from Hamels. Hamels allowed four singles and a double in the game. Werth, Howard and Ibanez drove in the Phillies runs.
The Dodgers won game two 4-3. The Phils took an early 3-0 lead thanks to an RBI groundout by Ibanez and a two-run double by Utley. Moyer pitched very well, allowing two runs over seven innings. Lidge started the ninth with a 3-2 lead and got the first two hitters before a single by Casey Blake and a walk to Rafael Furcal put men on first and second. Russell Martin hit a ground ball to third that Feliz booted, keeping the game alive with the bases loaded. Andre Ethier delivered a double to right to score two runs and give LA the win.
The Phils got more good starting pitching in game three, but another blown save from Lidge as LA took the game 3-2. An Ethier home run off of Blanton gave LA a 1-0 lead in the fourth. Stairs put the Phils up 2-1 with a pinch-hit two-run single in the top of the seventh. Furcal hit a solo shot off of Lidge with one out in the ninth to tie it up. Eyre and Durbin kept the Dodgers off the board in extra-innings until Ethier connected for the game-winning home run off of Durbin with two outs in the bottom of the twelfth.
Last night Bastardo got his second win in two starts as the Phils rolled to a 7-2 win. The Phils scored twice in the top of the fifth to take a 3-1 lead, but the Dodgers got a run in the bottom of the sixth to get within one. Home runs from Victorino and Ruiz in the seventh put the Phillies on top to stay. Park pitched very well in the game in relief of Bastardo — he came on with nobody out in the sixth and went three scoreless innings.
The Phillies got fantastic pitching in the series. Over 38 1/3 innings their pitchers threw to a 1.64 ERA and an 0.97 ratio.
The four starters allowed just five runs over 27 innings, throwing to a 1.67 ERA and an 0.85 ratio. Blanton gave up a home run to Ethier, which was the only homer the starters allowed in the set. The starters struck out 17 and walked just two.
Hamels got the start in game one and allowed five hits over nine shutout innings. He struck out five and didn’t walk a batter.
Moyer allowed two runs on three singles and a double in game two. He struck out three and didn’t walk a hitter. He has a 3.60 ERA and a 1.04 ratio in his last four starts. His ERA for the year is down to 6.27. He’s allowed just three walks in his last 25 innings.
Blanton held LA to a run over six innings in game three, allowing five hits and just one walk. That’s three very good starts in a row for Blanton, who has his ERA for the year down to 5.46. Over his last three outings he has a 1.80 ERA and a 1.00 ratio.
Bastardo got his second start in game four and was impressive again. He allowed two runs on seven hits and a walk over five innings. He need 107 pitches to get through five innings. He came out to start the top of the sixth and faced two hitters, but both got hits and Park came on in relief.
11 1/3 innings of relief in the set for the Phils. The relievers allowed four runs, only two of which were earned (the two runs Lidge allowed in the Feliz error game were unearned). Lidge allowed three runs in the series and Durbin one. 1.59 ERA and a 1.29 ratio overall for the pen in the four games. They did allow two critical home runs — Furcal off of Lidge in game three and Ethier off of Durbin later in the same contest.
Eyre started the tenth inning of game three with the score tied at 2-2. He allowed singles to the first two men he faced. It pen men on first and second with nobody out, but Eyre got the next two before Durbin relieved him to pitch to the righty Matt Kemp.
Taschner did not pitch in the series and has thrown one inning since May 20. That’s a terrible use of a roster spot.
Romero pitched the eighth inning of game two with a 3-2 lead. He allowed a walk and a stolen base, but no runs.
He came in for Condrey in the bottom of game three with one out and men on first and second. He picked Juan Castro out at second for the second out of the inning and it saved him a run, cause Juan Pierre followed with a single. Romero got Orlando Hudson on a fly ball to left to end the inning.
Park entered game four with a 3-1 lead in the bottom of the sixth, nobody out and men on first and third. He pitched very well. He got Matt Kemp to hit into a double-play, allowing a run to score that was charged to Bastardo, then got the next hitter to get out of the sixth. He came back and pitched the seventh and the eighth, allowing one hit and one hit batter.
Great outing for Park. The score of the game didn’t make the score look close, but Park got some critical outs when it was.
Durbin entered game three with two outs in the bottom of the tenth and men on first and second. He struck Kemp out to end the inning.
He returned for the bottom of the eleventh and set LA down in order. With Park and Taschner well-rested, he came back for the bottom of the twelfth. He got the first two before Ethier hit a 3-2 pitch out to center to give LA the win.
The Phils lost game three on Durbin’s 36th pitch of the game, which came to a lefty who had already homered in that game. Durbin was pitching well, but the Phillies had better options. Even if Taschner isn’t going to come into the game, with the slumping righty Russell Martin due to hit next it was a good time not to groove one to the not-slumping Ethier.
Condrey started the seventh inning of game three with a 2-1 lead. He faced three hitters and got one out while allowing two singles.
Madson interestingly did not pitch the eighth inning of game two with a one-run lead. He did pitch the eighth inning of game three with a 2-1 lead. He allowed a leadoff walk but got the next three.
He pitched the ninth inning of game four with a 7-2 lead and allowed a leadoff single but got the next three. I don’t think it’s a good idea to bring in Madson in with a five-run lead, off-day today or not. Taschner never, ever pitches and you don’t need to let Madson’s innings continue to pile up.
Lidge came into the ninth inning of game two with a 3-2 lead. He got the first two men he faced before allowing a hit and a walk. The game should have been over when Martin followed with a grounder to third, but Feliz did not handle it. Ethier followed with a two-run double to give LA the win.
He entered game three with a 2-1 lead in the ninth. He retired three of the four men he faced, but Furcal hit a pinch-hit home run off of him to tie the game.
The Phillies scored just 15 runs in the series — eight in the first three games and seven yesterday.
Rollins went 0-for-10 in the first two games of the series, didn’t start the third batted sixth last night. He was 2-for-16 in the series and is hitting 222/261/322 for the season. No walks in June and three in his last 91 at-bats.
Utley was 4-for-15 with three doubles and five walks in the set. 296/438/548.
Werth hit second in game three of the series and third in the other three games. He was 5-for-16 with five singles and four walks. 256/355/437. One extra-base hit, a double, in his last 42 at-bats. He played center field in games one and two with Victorino out of the lineup.
Howard was 3-for-17 with a double and a home run in the series. 259/337/577.
Ibanez was 4-for-17 with two doubles. 329/386/676 for the year. If he slugs .676 for the whole season it would be a career high.
Victorino was out of the lineup for games one and two. In games one and three he was in the leadoff spot. 2-for-10 with a home run and three strikeouts in the series. He’s hitting 295/343/467 for the season.
Feliz made a critical error in game two. He’s made three errors on the season, but two of them have been critical ones late in games that were big factors in a loss. He was 6-for-15 with a double in the set and is hitting 306/361/425 for the year.
Ruiz was 4-for-8 with a home run in the series. 309/435/511. Coste started game two with Ruiz starting the other three.
Coste started game two with Moyer pitching. 0-for-5 with two strikeouts in the set. 229/341/414 for the year.
Bruntlett started game three at shortstop with Rollins on the bench. He also started games one and two in right field with the Dodgers throwing lefties. 2-for-9 with a walk in the series. 152/212/239. He’s really not the guy you want starting back-to-back games in right field.
Dobbs was 0-for-3 in the series to drop his line to 188/273/354 for the season.
Stairs was 1-for-1 with a big two-run single in game three. He’s hitting 324/500/618 for the season.